Have you ever stopped to think about the number of times you move through the hallways of your home? You head to the kitchen for your morning cup of coffee and once there remember your reading glasses by the side of the bed. Back down the hallway. You yell to your teenager to get out of bed and getting no response, head down the hallway to his room for the fourth time that morning. You’re heading out the door for work and realize you left your suit coat in the closet….
We really use our hallways. We pass up and down countless times a day. I’m wondering; do you enjoy moving through that space? Is there anything in that long passage that makes you smile as you pass by? With all the attention we give to our living rooms, dining rooms and kitchens, maybe we ought to spare just a bit for our hallways.
Granted it’s a bit hard to get inspired over a space that may be no more than three feet wide, often with short expanses of wall broken by doorways. But really, if you have to travel through it many times a day, it’s definitely worth your effort. Here’s five design ideas that can turn your ho-hum hallway into a space that’s worth passing through.
1. Lighting. If you’re lucky enough to have hallways with ceilings high enough for pendant lighting (say 9’), use a succession of pendants to pull your eye through the space. I love pendants that throw shadow. They add instant drama. If your ceilings are a bit lower, you use ceiling mount fixtures for the same effect.
2. Create a focal point. Draw your eye straight to the end of the hallway with a great focal point. The one shown is a dominated by the gorgeous sconce, but it could just as easily be a piece of art, a mirror or a beautiful piece of furniture. I’m currently ripping out a closet at the end of my hallway and plan to install a chest with an eye catching mirror that will pull the eye straight to the focal point, missing the fact the hallway is narrow and the ceilings are low!
3. Create a library. Hallways are a great space to create a library you might not otherwise have a place for. If your hallway isn’t wide enough to accommodate adding a built-in bookcase or shelves, consider stealing the space between the studs and recessing most of the bookcase into the wall. In this project we painted the back of the bookcase a deep navy. The eye gets pulled to the back wall of the bookcase effectively making the space feel wider than it really is.
4. Art and photos. If your hallways are narrow, keep the size of the art or photography in mind. Large scale pieces require you to step back to view the full piece. In a narrow hallway, you won’t have that luxury. This is a fun spot for family photos, but an art or photography series would be another great option.
5. Color and pattern. Wow! What a difference this pattern makes to this hallway. Try a bold wall covering keeping in mind the scale of the pattern. Like art, when you’re standing or moving through the space, you want to be able to see the full pattern. Painting your doors something other than white is another way to add color to the space. Black doors give a very European feel, but a bright bold color just might make you grin every time you walk down the hall. If your ceilings are low, or the space feels choppy, try painting your walls and ceiling the same color. Your eye loses that definition between the wall and ceiling plane and makes the ceiling feel higher than it actually is.
At RJohnston Interiors we believe our homes should be the space that relaxes, rejuvenates and refreshes us. So put that hallway to work and call us if you need a hand!